Council in Healthy Financial Position
The South Taranaki District Council finished the 2018/19 financial year with a healthy $5.8 million surplus before accounting adjustments*, against a budgeted surplus of $2.1 million, according to its Annual --Report, which was adopted at today’s (9 October) Special Council meeting.
Council Chief Executive Waid Crockett says the surplus was partly due to the Council’s Long Term Investment Fund (LTIF) which performed strongly over the year.
“Thanks to strong market conditions the LTIF did very well and returned $10.09 million which was $1.3 million more than we budgeted,” says Mr Crockett.
“After allowing for the annual drawdown and rates subsidy, at year end the Fund balance totalled $147.09 million, up from $143.21 million in 2017/18,” he says.
Total debt increased slightly from $128.18 million to $128.18 million (including $14.91 million of internal borrowing).
Mr Crockett says each year the Council’s draws on average $5.8 million from the LTIF which provides $3.87 million to subsidise general rates and a further $1.93 million to service loans for specific community projects.
“In this way the LITF has returned more than $100 million back to the South Taranaki Community since it was started in 1997,” he says.
“All revenue over and above the annual drawdown of $5.8 million is returned to the Fund to build it up for those years when it doesn’t perform so well.”
The Report also highlighted the steady progress made with several of Council’s key priorities; the Hāwera Town Centre Strategy, earthquake prone buildings and town centre masterplans.
“Our second Hāwera Town Centre re-development project, Korimako Lane, and the refurbishment of the Grubi Building was completed and opened in early December 2018, while we continued to prepare for the main Hāwera Town Centre re-development project, Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga – South Taranaki’s new Library, Culture and Arts Centre,” says Mr Crockett.
Kaponga LibraryPlus was reopened after being earthquake strengthened and work was started (by 30 June) on the Hunter Shaw Building. Patea LibraryPlus was also reopened after a $300,000 refurbishment. In May 2019, Council started to develop town centre masterplans for Eltham, Ōpunakē, Manaia, Pātea and Waverley.
Other notable achievements during the year included:
79km of roads were resealed and 7km of roads were reconstructed.
Hāwera’s King Edward Park (KEP) was awarded a 5th star by the New Zealand Gardens Trust making it a Garden of National Significance.
Council’s energy costs have fallen by approximately 13% compared to the previous two years.
Council won the Tompkins Wake Award for Better Regulation and Policy at the 2019 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards for our innovative approach to freedom camping.
Our annual independent survey of more than 400 residents across all five South Taranaki wards found that 93% of residents were happy with the overall service the Council provides.
Council initiated a Feasibility and Initial Business Case Study into the potential development of a district Business/Industrial Park
* While the Council’s Income Statement shows a deficit of $3,208,000 this was due to accounting adjustments – these included any book loss on the disposal of assets ($3,903,000) and a balance day valuation snapshot of our financial instruments. On 30 June this year, our Derivative Contracts showed a loss of $5,121,000. These are unrealised (paper) losses which have no impact on rates.